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From: "Patrick O'Leary" <poleary@sloth.cecom.com>
Subject: (whorl) pigs, Sheep & Wolves
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 15:14:53 

Fascinating stuff, buds.

As always I swing between being intimidated by the depth of your analysi

and annoyed by the cockamamie conclusions you sometimes leap to.
But I'm always grateful to share this obsession.

Adam: Thank you for your lucid and sane comments. Your take on the
is dead on, I believe. Silk lives. Horn has laid down his life. I can't
think of any other way to
read it.

Things I'd argue against:

1. Passilk does not infiltrate Silk in Pig's Post-Op scene. Yes, there
is a monitor.
But where do we see the evidence of this occurring?
Does Silk behave differently after this scene?

2. Pig is not Tartaros. True, Both are blind. Pig was wounded so. Wasn't
Tartaros born blind?

3. Pig is not a godling. Think of difference between the two: One an
artificial being (a combo of
chem and Super Talus, I'd say)
and a three dimensional human character. If the godlings' mission is to
proclaim the will of
Passilk to the whorl does it make any
sense for them to speak in an strange difficult to parse dialect like
Pig,  or the slow, easily
understood  child speak of the godling.
Structurally, think of how awkward it is to have TWO godlings in the
same place (Blood's
palace).  It lacks all the elegance
and engineering soundness we find continually in Wolfe's fiction. It
makes no sense to me.

On the issue of Wolfe's obscurity I see three alternatives:

1. Lazy and pretentious
2. Unconscious and sloppy
3. Deep and deliberate

I go for three (I doubt this surprises anyone).

Though I should add an amusing personal note. Wolfe has read and deeply
appreciates John Clute's
SF Weekly Review of RTTW.
He wrote me that "I only wish I understood why Clute thinks those books
so difficult." (Meaning
the Short Sun Books)
"It's a simple quest story with a fold."

I think he is being coy here and I told him so.

For me the most obscure parts of RTTW are the Scylla parts. After two
reads I'm still not sure I
really really get it.

Oh. And one last thing. I pay particular attention to the openings of
Wolfe's books.

He usually plants important clues there.

Here's one I rediscovered on the first page of ON BLUE'S WATERS p. 13
(in the opening letter).

"There are many beds of hide."

Which I take to mean several things.

1. This is a work of multiple layers.
2. Many characters will be sleeping in each other.
3. People will cover and obcure themselves in other creatures' skins.

Fun, eh?

Patrick O'Leary

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